Mageia 2 Release Details Revealed

After an extensive discussion with the community on the Mageia developmental mailing list, Anne Nicolas revealed the results concerning Mageia release and support cycles as well as the release schedule for Mageia 2. The consensus was to use basically the same cycle used in Mageia 1.

Three proposals where given for discussion:

Proposal 1:
6 months release cycle -> 12 months life cycle
( Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva < 2010.1 && Mandriva != 2006.0 )

Proposal 2:
9 months release cycle -> 18 months life cycle
( ~ opensuse and the one we used for Mageia 1 )

Proposal 3:
12 months release cycle -> 24 months life cycle
( Mandriva > 2010.1 )

Since there are pros and cons to each, a lengthy discussion followed. Nicolas, former Director of Engineering with Mandriva, favored Proposal 2 based on her experience with Mandriva. The pros of Proposal 2 include releasing in-between other popular distribution's releases in order to stand out and not be lost in the news behind others such as openSUSE, Ubuntu, or Fedora. This tends to be a disadvantage as well since it is not in sync with GNOME or KDE releases and sometimes falls on or near holidays.

Proposal 1 can offer better hardware support and more up-to-date software, but the tight schedule can lead to more stress and pressure and possibly result in less quality assurance. While Proposal 3 allows users longer between upgrades, it can also make these upgrade more risky due to bigger changes. It also can cause hardware support lag. Probably the worse disadvantage for a new project is more time between being in the spotlight.

So, Proposal 2 was chosen. The developmental cycle will be nine months and each release will be supported for 18. In addition, the new release schedule was posted. Development has already begun and an initial alpha will be released November 16. The Final Release will come on April 4, 2012.

The full schedule is:

● Alpha 1 : 16/11/2011
● Alpha 2 : 14/12/2011
● Beta 1 : 20/01/2012
● Versions freeze : 06/02/2012
● Artwork freeze: 10/02/2012
● i18n freeze: 10/02/2012
● Beta 2 : 14/02/2012
● Releases freeze : 06/03/2012
● RC : 09/03/2012
● Final Release: 04/04/2012

Some of the technical aspects being discussed include an easier installation. Developers wonder if some additional screens and choices can be hidden from users while giving users a choice about non-free and tainted media. Another idea is to finally give users a "Back" button during the install. A long time complaint with Mandriva, and now Mageia, is that if a user clicks "Next" and changes their mind about something, the only way back is to reboot and start all over. This will be a most welcome addition. Another long awaited option being considered is a 64-bit LiveCD.

The system itself will likely feature Linux 3.0, GCC 4.6, Python 3, and RPM 4.9. systemd is also being discussed. Many distributions are switching to systemd, so the prospect is not so radical anymore as the kinks are being ironed out. Another bold idea is to replace the current synthesis package metadata handling to an XML-based solution. Some think this will bring a speed increase.

In the area of desktop environments, it appears Mageia 2 will feature KDE 4.7 and GNOME 3.2. There is also talk of replacing the attractive IaOra theme with an Oxygen-like theme. Let's hope it's from scratch and doesn't come with the NVIDIA conflicts found in Oxygen currently. "More games - any kind of games, just more of them" is a fun idea being discussed. New Kdm/Gdm screens, new icons, and codenames are also on the table.

As an aside, our old friend Beranger is currently providing third party applications for Mageia 1. Interestingly, he seems to think Linux 3.0 is a big mistake for Mageia.

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